Medical Update

So if you follow me on the social networks, you know there’s some stuff going wrong with me. Here’s the fuller scoop.

A few months ago (July, to be precise) I had an outbreak of a rash. It looked like hives and acted like hives, flaring up at night when I worked, and fading away during the day when I was at home. Some days, the rash was accompanied by swollen and sore joints — mainly fingers, hands, elbows and knees. After about a month or so, it slowly got better and went away.

Suspicions at the time were that it was an allergic reaction to the dry-cleaning chemicals they used on my costumes. So I wore some of my own stuff, and they switched my costumes to regular wet-wash, and that was that. All better. OR SO WE THOUGHT!

A couple of weeks ago, the rash started appearing again. Exact same areas (backs of arms, backs of hands, thighs) in the exact same grow/fade cycles. But it came on stronger, and faster, and the joint pain came faster and stronger too. Add in a sore throat, and I headed not to Disney’s health services, but to an actual doctor. I was looked over and put on a 5-day blast of Prednisone (oh, how I never hoped to be on that steroid again), and was told to keep using Benadryl for the itching, and to come back in three days for a follow-up. They took some blood for various tests to look at rheumatoid factors, lupus, and various other weird rash/joint things.

So I finished out my work week, still rashy and joint-painy and sore-throaty. My follow-up appointment was Wednesday, two days ago. I woke up that morning with the previous day’s rash still mottling my skin, and the most incredibly painful joints yet. I couldn’t move my arms above chest level. I couldn’t make fists. I could barely walk. The doctors were perplexed, since all of my blood tests came out totally normal. They drew more blood, gave me stronger meds, then made a same-day appointment with a dermatologist. Thank goodness I had Scott to drive me around. The dermatologist took a couple of biopsies (and when they say the numbing agent will pinch then burn, that burning is INTENSE), gave me a cream for the rash, and wrote me a note to keep me out of work for a week to rest. I cried a lot that day. There was a lot of pain.

Yesterday was a little better; I could walk (slowly), though I wasn’t much use in carrying things. And one of the meds they have me on, a super-strength antihistamine, is apparently also used for treating anxiety. I can see why, and I can see why I’m not supposed to go to work. I was a total space cadet, floating around on my little mental cloud. Scott said I was highly amusing.

So, here I am on my Monday, staying home. I took my meds, but I’m not completely goofy just yet. I still have the itchy rash (it flared up last night, so this morning I have the fading remnants, which are still blotchy and itchy). I still have many swollen, painful joints. I still have my sore throat. And now I have 5 tubes of blood and 2 skin biopsies out there in the medical ether, awaiting results. So let’s all cross our fingers for a definitive answer in the next few days, so treatment can really begin.